Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SCBWI_SWTX Ilustrator's day at the San Antonio Zoo!

I am the Illustrator Coordinator for the the Southwest Texas society of children's book writers and illustrators. We held a sketch crawl at the San Antonio Zoo. We spent the morning sketching all the different kinds of animals. Here a few highlights from our day.

(L to R) Illustrators: Akiko White, Leticia Rocha, Catherine Garant and Jeff McDaniel

Taking a break, watching the Hippos


Here are some of my sketches

And a few more


Lety's Sketches


Cathrine's Sketches


Jeff's Sketches

The highlight of the day was having our picture taken with an aspiring artist!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Here are some of what I would like to share from the 2011 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in LA. It was their 40th year for this conference. I met so many incredible writer's and illustrators at the conference. My head is still spinning. Here is the link to the blog if you would like to hear more of what I learned. http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/ 

Lisa Medway, Me and Jerry Bennett

I made some best friends also while I was there. Lisa Medway and Jerry Bennett were first time attendees also. Lisa is a professor and a writer. Jerry is an illustrator and the Illustrator Coordinator for the OK-SCBWI. At the 2011 Golden Kite Awards Luncheon, other attendees at our table asked how long we had known each other. We all said, "Only 3 days!" I guess we are kindred spirits, because it felt like we had known each other for much, much longer!

The first speakers that I met were Pat Cummings is and Illustrator, Writer and Instructor at Parsons. Priscilla Burris is the National Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI. They both were a wealth of information. Both of them had some great advice; make your characters charming and memorable, send new postcards with your name on the front every 3-4 months and never send the same image to the same person twice. These are things that I will keep in mind as I search for my own "Editor Soulmate".

We all loved hearing the keynote from Libba Bray Author of Going Bovine and Beauty Queens. She is a interesting character, I am sure her books are quite interesting. I bought one for her to sign. A quote from Libba, "We are our stories, successful stories will come from ourselves. Be true to yourself."

Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul drew Emma a Hello Kitty version of Rupelstiltskin.

Paul O. Zelinsky has illustrated some beautiful books. One being the book Rumplestiltskin. His advice, "research all possibilities and find the right person for your character."

Sarah Stewart and David Small

Another Keynote speaker was David Small. He has several Picture books and a new graphic novel out called Stitches. What I really enjoyed was meeting his delightful wife Sarah Stewart when I was getting David's autograph. She is a wonderful soul with an amazing outlook on life.

Our surprise speaker was none other than Judy Bloom of the Judy Moody book series. It was a delight to hear about how she became a writer/illustrator. She was a mother and had done everything right. She had raised her kids, been a good wife and paid her taxes, but felt there was something missing in her life, that is when she began to write. Judy, I can relate!

Jon Sciezska

Other speakers that I had the privilege to hear where Laurent Linn; Art Director most notable for his career designing puppets for Jim Hensen's studio, Gary Paulson; author of Hatchet, Jon Sciezska;  author of Space Heads, Steve Malik; writer and illustrator agent,Martha Rago; Associate Creative Director for HarperCollins and Richard Peck; professor and writer of many books.

Emma with Jerry Pinkney

Even though I missed hearing Jerry Pickney's speech, Emma and I did get his autograph. He even drew a little mouse next to his autograph. I'm beginning to think it is better to be a little person when getting autograph from writer's and illustrators. Jerry has been illustrating for over 40 years. His images are beautiful.

Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborn was missed also, but I got her autograph for my little girl. She is the author for the Magic Tree House series. All my three children have enjoyed her books. How wonderful to have gotten to meet her. She also autographed a book for my daughter's preschool teacher thanking her for sharing her books with her class. What a nice lady!

Last but not least, I put my portfolio in the showcase. There were 1500 at the conference, 200+ Illustrators, and 180 showed in the showcase. I am glad that a few people picked up my promotional cards.

What I learned from this conference is that I will have to go above and beyond to get noticed. I am a little neurotic when it comes to my work so I should do fine. I am looking forward to giving it my best and making connections in the children's book industry. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Can't wait for the next conference!

I will close with a quote from Richard Peck, "Unless you find yourself on the page very early in life, you will spend your life looking for yourself in all the wrong places."